Letting some orthodox doctrines in the bible stay as mysteries instead of dogmas

When spelled with a lower case “c” catholic means “universal.” And so the creed speaks of "one holy catholic and apostolic church.

True. The Anglican Church is active in ecumenical dialog with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics to explore possible areas of reconciliation. . Full reconciliation is impossible, but we can break down some walls. The Anglican church is already in full communion with the Lutheran church.

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Your comments seem to reveal something of the difference between the western and eastern tradition. Western thinking is perhaps more exact, ‘scientific’ or ‘legalistic’, with an attempt to define clearly what we believe or not. Lots of terms related to doctrines, all defined to as accurate descriptions as possible. Sometimes those terms and definitions may cause more misunderstandings or disagreements than help mutual understanding.

Although I am a child of western thinking, in some matters I like the eastern tradition more.

For outsiders and even intelligent youngsters in the religion, too often “mystery” effectively means they are forbidden to ask questions about it. Insisting on asking about it, means your inquiring mind gets equated with being a trouble maker. This is the testimony I have heard from those who eventually left that religion. So I would suggest this way of doing things is a mistake. A simple “I/we don’t know” can actually have the opposite effect – making them determined to discover the answer for themselves, which engages them more with the religion rather than repelling them.


Good insight. if one has the problem with the word “mysteries”, by all means then don’t use it. if a simple “I don’t know” suffice, then it is also good.

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At the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, the church, in opposition to the Arian heresy, declared that Jesus is begotten, not made, and His divine nature is of the same essence (homo ousios) with the Father.

This affirmation declared that the Second Person of the Trinity is one in essence with God the Father. That is, the “being” of Christ is the being of God. He is not merely similar to Deity, but He is Deity.

The confession of the deity of Christ is drawn from the manifold witness of the New Testament.

As the Logos (word) Incarnate, Christ is revealed as being not only preexistent to creation but eternal. He is said to be in the beginning with God, and He is God (John 1:1-3).

That He is with God demands a personal distinction within the Godhead. That He is God demands inclusion in the Godhead.

Elsewhere, the New Testament ascribes terms and titles to Jesus that are titles of deity. God bestows the preeminent divine title of Lord upon Him (Philippians 2:9-11).

As the Son of Man, Jesus claims to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28) and to have the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:1-12). He is called the “Lord of glory” (James 2:1) and willingly receives worship, as when Thomas confesses, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

Paul declares that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily (Colossians 1:19) and that Jesus is higher than angels, a theme reiterated in the book of Hebrews.

To worship an angel or any other creature, no matter how exalted, violates the biblical prohibition against idolatry. The ‘I am’s’ of John’s Gospel also bear witness to the identification of Christ with Deity.
In the fifth century, the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) affirmed that Jesus was ‘truly man and truly God’. Jesus’ two natures, human and divine, were said to be without mixture, confusion, separation, or division.


God the Son took upon Himself a real human nature is a crucial doctrine of historic Christianity. The great ecumenical Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 affirmed that Jesus is truly man and truly God and that the two natures of Christ are so united as to be without mixture, confusion, separation, or division, each nature retaining its own attributes.

The true humanity of Jesus has been assaulted chiefly in two ways.

The early church had to combat the heresy of docetism, which taught that Jesus did not have a real physical body or a true human nature.

They argued that Jesus only “seemed” to have a body but was a phantom sort of being. Over against this, the Apostle John strongly declared that those who denied that Jesus came truly in the flesh are of the Antichrist!

The other major heresy the church rejected was the monophysite heresy.

This heresy argued that Jesus did not have two natures but one. This single nature was neither truly divine nor truly human but a mixture of the two. It was called a “theanthropic” nature. The monophysite heresy involves either a deified human nature or a humanized divine nature.

Subtle forms of the monophysite heresy threaten the church in every generation. The tendency is toward allowing human nature to be swallowed up by divine nature in such a way as to remove the real limitations of Jesus’ humanity.

We must distinguish between the two natures of Jesus without separating them. As an example, which you imply is not clear, when Jesus hungers, we see that as a manifestation of human nature, not the divine. What is said of the divine nature or of human nature may be affirmed by the person. On the cross, for example, Christ, the God-man, died. This, however, is not to say that God perished on the cross.

Though the two natures remain united after Christ’s ascension, we must still distinguish the natures regarding the mode of His presence with us.

Concerning His human nature, Christ is no longer present with us. However, in His divine nature, Christ is never absent from us.

Christ’s humanity was like ours. He became a man “for our sakes.” He entered into our situation to act as our Redeemer. He became our substitute, taking upon Himself our sins to suffer in our place. He also became our champion, fulfilling the law of God on our behalf.

In redemption, there is a twofold exchange.

Our sins are imparted to Jesus. His righteousness is imparted to us. He receives the judgment due to our imperfect humanity, while we receive the blessing due to His perfect humanity. In His humanity, Jesus had the same limitations common to all human beings, except that He was without sin.

In His human nature, He was not omniscient.

His knowledge, though true and accurate as far as it went, was not infinite.

There were things He did not know, such as the day and the hour of His return to earth. Of course, in His divine nature, He is omniscient, and His knowledge is without limit.

As a human being, Jesus was restricted by time and space. Like all human beings, He could not be in more than one place simultaneously.

Jesus sweated. He hungered. He wept. He endured pain. He was mortal, capable of suffering death. In all these respects, He was like us.


Thank you Paul for such a lengthy and quite detail post. I really appreciate your input. Concening the dual nature of Christ however, i am not just talking about thing that are clearly given in the bible, but also about the unclear ones.

When combating heresy, we might be promoting something that is beyond what the scripture said.

For example, about the dual nature of Christ, does Christ always have two natures (God and man), before incarnation, during His time on earth and after resurrection?

When you said that Christ was limited in His knowledge during His time on earth because he was in His human nature and yet at the same time He is fully God who is omniscience and those two nature communicating with each other, then how do you explain that? Did Christ possesed that knowledge before His incarnatiom, and then somehow in His dual nature did not have access to that information that belong to His divine nature? What kind of communication was/is happening between His divine and human nature?

Can we infer from your statement that some of Jesus’saying during His time on earth are temporal in nature because of the limitation of His humanity? Kind of dangerous ground there that even I dare not venture that far.

I check in esv or interlinear greek text, never have that added word “bodily”, not sure where you got that quote. Definitely an added interpretation.

I am making some progress in understanding your position from these comments, and I will wait for a response from @Paul_Allen1 before I comment.

Obviously not.

Thanks for posting that. Lots of good information. I see some of what you describe as modern day Monophysite heresy in how some tend to give Jesus omnipotence and omniscience when he walked on earth, which seems to take away the meaning of the incarnation. Yet, he still calmed the seas and walked on water, distinctly divine activities. I guess that is why they had to have church councils, as it is not an easy thing to understand.

There’s no such thing as "heresy’. Well I guess there is but there’s nothing wrong to demonize here.

You can’t prove the "orthodox " potision on any theological matter. You just can’t.
Same as the “heretics” potision. Again all this back and forth to this thread is pointless

We do sometimes use the word heresy loosely at times. But, it does have meaning in context. Here is a discussion by Roger Olson on how it is used: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2012/06/thoughts-about-the-terms-heresy-and-heretic/

It will be pointless if we don’t have the anchor of truth in the scripture. If you don’t believe in the Bible, then yes, this thread is pointless for you.

Before the incarnation Jesus had only one nature, a divine one. The high Christology of St. John’s gospel explains it nicely:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

-John 1:1-5, 14

No we don’t distinguish which nature is doing what. That would be Nestorianism. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit since he is no longer with us in the flesh.

There is also the notion of the “real presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. This is what Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, and maybe other groups believe.

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What about after resurrection?

Everyone’s got their own reinterpretation of it.

Your passage defending Jesus dualistic nature might be the others defending one nature. See what I did there.

Anyone can make the Bible talk about anything.

You can make it look like a fairytale if you want to.

You can make it look like it’s all literal. You can make it look everything

This is a bit of a simplification. At least the RC church and Lutherans do not share a similar doctrine of the Eucharist (RC: transubstantion; Lutherans: no transubstation).

There are different opinions and doctrines about the Eucharist. The biblical scriptures do not give a full theological description of the Eucharist, so all doctrines are later interpretations. There are different viewpoints to the Eucharist. Personally, I like the viewpoint that Christ is truly present in the believing Christians who share the bread and wine.

I think it is at least illustrative of what is disfunctional with deciding in advance what you intend to believe before your experience and education have ripened. The trade off may well be a more stable society. But if that comes at the price of forever being mistaken it seems like a steep price.


Yes Roman Catholic believe in transubstantiation but they also believe in the Real Presence.

(I wanted to get @unapologeticCatholic back here but he has removed himself from the list.)